Cataloochee Trout

Fishing the Smokies' Forgotten Far East

The Cataloochee Basin lies in one of the most remote sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is often referred to as the"Forgotten Far East."

The main stream of Cataloochee Creek and a number of its tributaries flow through open fields and dales, often laced by weathered gray split-rail fences, an ever-present reminder of the sturdy farmers who toiled in this green cove in past times. Many local streams are named after families who once resided here. Reunions of old Cataloochee families, held here every August, unite four to five hundred former residents and their descendents; a human heritage that bonds these mountains to the present.

The Cataloochee Basin is bound by the Cataloochee Divide, Mt. Sterling Ridge, and the Balsam Mountains. Its key tributaries include Little Cataloochee Creek, Caldwell Fork, and Palmer Creek, all possessing well-developed tributary systems that deserve the attention of anglers. If hiking is your bag, there's a superior trail system, too. And many of the trails are angler-friendly.

The Cataloochee system is more like the combination of four separate streams, which converge within a relatively short distance within the cove. The main stream flows 7 to 8 miles within the park, before leaving to later empty into Walters Lake, an impoundment of the Pigeon River.

Located off the established tourist path, Cataloochee has limited facilities—a ranger station and a primitive campground (28 campsites, located alongside the stream)—but a well-developed trail system. The Cataloochee Primitive Campground makes an ideal base camp for anglers wishing to sample Cataloochee's smorgasbord of trout streams. . .

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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